It's a Tampa Bay thing in sports, isn't it?
Every NFL season since I-don't-know-when, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers faithful end up tarring and feathering the starting quarterback because he doesn't do it all in a performance akin to a high school or collegiate QB. Even when looking at the wider team, the offense is never good enough, even with a 10-6 season or better.
Now it's being applied to Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning. A discontent because the do-everything-on-offense isn't being handled. Catcalls are leaking out through the Internet annals from some Lightning fans who have been spoiled in recent years by what Stamkos is capable: "He's not good enough / he's past his peak" "he blends in too easily on ice" "He's not a leader" "He's not capable." A do-all player is what's requested and it's getting stupid. Who do you expect would do everything you want, Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Mario Lemieux? All three guys are from a bygone era where the story book of their careers neglects any lackluster performances in favor of propping up the NHL heroes that they were.
Steven Stamkos is a point shy of the team lead in points and he wears the "C", look at his career numbers and tell me again that he's not a leader. Fans may cite the fact it's a contract year and he's underperforming, but so is the rest of the club (whose schedule has been dominated by the toughest division in the NHL). Oh, wait... The team is underperforming? Let's add some spoiled blame!
Head coach Jon Cooper's head has also been requested by way of fan discontent. Never mind that the Lightning made it to the Cup Finals last season and most Stanley Cup Finalists start off their next season slowly (look at the Blackhawks at the moment). "Cooper's lost the players!" "Cooper can't coach" "He's only been lucky to get this far."
Can we cut the crap, please, and actually have a season where everyone watches the games and not draw stark conclusions of dread and disgust because the Lightning hasn't obliterated every opponent? Is it possible fans can actually ground themselves a little bit, or at least stop acting spoiled after last season, and realize it is a sport and not every game is going to be a big win? That one player is not supposed to do all the legwork for the game night roster (or carry all expectations)? Perhaps some of the over-reacting fans should know that there are more factors to coaching than the win-loss column?
Someone will cite Stamkos' contract situation as the reason everything is going wrong... And the truth is the expectation of the fan base, coupled with a schedule that doesn't benefit Tampa Bay is what's given the Bolts a bumpy start. The next seven of nine games played will be at Amalie Arena, and the nine game schedule to end the month is Pacific Division teams (Flames, Ducks, Kings) with a smattering of Metro (Capitals, Rangers, Islanders) and Atlantic Division (Sabres, Panthers) opponents. Everything's not going to magically transform over night but the game segment ahead should plot a new course in general for the Lightning.
But can you please, please cut the act that one player has to do it all? And that a 7-7-2 record indicates a roster doesn't follow the coach any more?